The radical truth of Presence is that the entirety of being is just one energy – one mind, one heart, we could say. Of course, this is not how we perceive things for the most part. The senses and the reactive mind create a strong impression that the world is broken up into billions of separate phenomena and that “I” stand as something separate from all of it.
In a moment in which the filters of the brain drop away, it might become suddenly clear that life is undivided and that I am nothing other than that. In such a moment it is also clear that this undivided field of energy is not a perspective, a frame of mind, or an attitude to be practiced. It is what is visible when perspective, frames of mind and attitudes are not in play. It’s what the movie screen is when there is no movie being played, yet not a blank nothings but rather a vast living space undivided and full of love.
Everyone has woken up to moments of this undivided Presence. But for most of us those moments are rare, long past memories that on some level pull us in our lives, but only vaguely and blindly. When we take time to shift our focus from the details of what we think our life is to simple being, there is a chance that our being may wake up to its real nature – undivided life. By taking time, I am thinking primarily of regular retreat of 5-7 days. While daily or weekly sitting is helpful, it rarely offers enough time for this waking up to happen.
Waking up to undivided Presence – to wholeness – has a radical and profound effect on a person. While it is true that Presence is always functioning in us, it is only in a deep moment of having woken up to it that we finally see what we are.
One person recently reported coming upon such a moment. As her mind suddenly turned 180 degrees into absolute stillness, she found herself entering deeply into the multitude of issues that had been plaguing her and discovered that in this undivided Presence they began to heal.
It is clear to me that true healing and true peace only take place when there is a deeply rooted living in undivided Presence. The notion of gradual spiritual progress is a mistaken belief in which one can stay busy for an entire lifetime and which keeps one from ever finding the truth of what one is.
Listening into the depths of one’s being, we may hear the echoes and memories of moments of oneness and love. We only need to devote extended time to putting aside the elements of our divided life and sitting silently, without knowing, without trying to become something. Just listening, present, vulnerable, come what may. If one devotes oneself to this – one, two, three retreats a year or more – for five, ten, or more years – there will be an opening to wholeness when we are ripe enough. And this opening will not be fleeting. It will be enduring and stable and will allow –for the first time – real healing to happen. And with it a bottomless flow of love and intelligence.
I’ve made some strong assertions here. You may disagree with what I’ve said. I may not have put things very clearly. Let’s talk together. This issue of wakening directly to undivided Presence is critical. I would be doing a great disservice to reinforce the perception that there can be a gradual development of well being without it.